Europe leads the way for workers' rights

New research by has revealed how workers around the world can expect to be treated across gender, parental leave and work-life balance.
Closing the gender pay gap
Over the years, increased discussion and activism around inequality and lack of diversity in business has led to countries addressing the very apparent gender pay gap present in their society.

  1. Norway – In 2007, Norway’s government introduced a quota which needed at least 40% of women to be on the board for businesses in an attempt to address gender imbalance. Whilst the law proved to be controversial, nearly ten years later the country takes first place with a gender pay gap of 7.1% and a Parliament & Boardroom Diversity Score of 9 out of 10.
  2. Denmark – Just behind their Scandinavian counterparts, Denmark has a slightly gender pay gap of 5.7%, but a slightly lower score of 7.9 out of ten for diversity in their parliament and boardrooms.
  3. Belgium – With an even lower gender pay gap of 4.7%, Belgium take third place in the rankings. Home to Brussels, a political hub for institutions, the nation only scored 5.9 out of ten on the parliamentary and boardroom diversity score.

Notably, Luxembourg had the lowest gender pay gap at 3.4%, whilst Korea had the highest at 36.7%.
Working 9 to 5: the reality
According to the study, there is a direct correlation between average weekly working hours and life satisfaction scores.
Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark were found to have the lowest average weekly working hours at 35.7 per week whilst maintaining a life satisfaction score of 7+out of ten – the highest score measured. The Netherlands had the shortest working week, with only 29.2 hours.
Belgium, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic averaged around 38.5 working hours per week, following closely behind with life satisfaction scores of 6+ out of ten.
At the halfway mark, countries with a satisfaction score of 5+ were found to have a longer working week – with the average being around 39.7. Italy, Latvia and Turkey featured in this list, with Turkey having the highest weekly working hours in the world at 47.7.
The double shift: being a parent
Being employed and being a parent can be difficult, with the demand to be an attentive parent whilst managing finances and increasing workloads. We take a look at the countries with the best parental leave rights in the world:

  • Sweden – Mothers in Sweden can expect to get up to 69 weeks in maternity leave, whilst fathers receive around 14 weeks in total. Parents can get up to 54.9% of their wages covered during leave, making Sweden the best country overall across both metrics.
  • Norway – Maternity leave qualifies for 52 weeks in Norway, with fathers receiving up to 14 weeks in paternity leave. Whilst having 17 weeks less than Sweden in maternity leave, Norway is just slightly behind with 52% of wages being covered during parental leave.
  • United Kingdom – Similar to Norway, the UK assigns 52 weeks for maternity leave, and 14 weeks for paternity leave, but are paid considerably less to their Scandinavian neighbours, with 46.8% of wages being covered during this time.

Ian Wright from stated: “For an employer or business owner, finding the right balance is important for maintaining a healthy company culture. There are still large disparities between men and women in positions of power, but the research reveals how different countries are working towards a solution and improving the importance of work/life balance overall.”
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